This Is Us Season 3 Episode 9 Recap: Cliffhanger SZN

After nine episodes, what is your grade for Season 3 of This Is Us? For me, it’s been a B- season. Let’s start with what I like, which is everything that revolves around Jack. Vietnam has been the most intriguing storyline all season and the introduction of Nicky has captivated my attention. I also love the courtship between a young Jack and Rebecca. At the top of the things I don’t like is Randall the politician. I’m losing interest in this political narrative more and more with each episode. I understand Randall cannot be the good guy all the time and problems with Beth are on the horizon, but I don’t need him to be the :little engine that could” in an election. I hope Randall drops out of the race. Toby and Kate’s arc has been so-so, but I’m glad they had a happy ending last night (for now). Kevin has also been stagnant, but since he’s tied in with the Vietnam drama, I’m happy when he’s onscreen because it means we will be revisiting Jack at war.

Let’s get into the recap.

This Is Us Season 3, Episode 9 Recap: “The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning”

Susan Kelechi Watson and Sterling K. Brown in This Is Us / Via: NBC Universal

– So…Nicky is alive? Let’s cut right to the chase. This Is Us is going away for a little over a month for its midseason break so huge cliffhangers were going to happen in the final moments of the episode. They were:

  • Future Randall and future Tess are visiting, “her,” aka Rebecca. They will meet up with future Beth, who appears to be running a dance studio.
  • Nicky Pearson is alive.

Well done, This Is Us. Two solid cliffhangers to keep fans occupied for the next couple of weeks. Before I go any further, I encourage you to read this interview from The Hollywood Reporter in regards to last night’s episode. It breaks down all of the specifics in an interview with co-showrunners of the show.

First, let’s discuss Randall and Beth. There has been tension growing between the couple throughout the first half of this season. It reached a climax last night after Tess revealed to the duo that she is gay. Randall’s debate went well, but is too far behind in the polls to win this year barring anything dramatic so Beth and his campaign manager, Jae-Won, suggest dropping out of the race. When Beth reiterates the notion of dropping out, Randall has second thoughts. Even after Beth reminded Randall about their promise, where he would drop out if Beth asked him, Randall refuses to do it, which lead to Beth kicking Randall out of the bedroom for the night. You could cut the tension with a knife!

In the flash forward, the “her” that Randall and Tess are going to visit is Rebecca. However, Beth is not with them as she is seen running a dance company. Beth is going to meet up with the duo and bring “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.” From what I saw, I could not determine if Beth and Randall are still together. (Yes, I looked at her fingers for a ring. She hid it well. Damn.) Is Rebecca sick? Is Rebecca dying? Did Randall and Beth get a divorce? Is Kate dead? (Yes, I believe Kate is going to die.) These are the questions running through my head and currently, I have no theories. Stay tuned.

Now, let’s to Vietnam. Kevin and Zoe arrive in the village that Jack protected and met with a man who lived there during the war. Although he has no specific information regarding Jack, the man suggests that Kevin’s journey may not be ending, but ongoing. Then, in the episode’s final moments, the hotel clerk revealed that after searching Nicky in the Vietnam database, there is no record of his death. Nicky did not die in Vietnam and in the closing moments of the episode, a mysterious figure in the background drops his mail on the table, which reveals the name “Nick Pearson.” Nicky is alive.

In the interview in THR that I liked to above, the showrunners confirmed that Nicky is alive so I don’t believe this is a fake or replacement Nicky (shoutout to the Paul McCartney replacement conspiracy theories). In the flashbacks throughout the episode, Jack and Nicky are at odds with each other. Nicky can’t beat his drug addiction and Jack can’t fix his brother, which leads to Nicky saying that he won’t complete the mission. In other words, Nicky believes he will die in Vietnam. Nice deception, This Is Us writers.

Rapid fire questions: Did Nicky fake his own death? Did Jack know that Nicky was alive? Did Jack think Nicky died, but Nicky ended up surviving and never told his brother? Who was on the boat during the explosion? Was Nicky on that boat and that’s why Jack think he died? Where is the mysterious woman? I highly doubt that Jack thought his brother was dead and never investigated it. My bet is that Nicky made Jack promise to never reveal his whereabouts to anyone. Jack mysteriously visited him in PA, but never told anyone. That’s my best guess for now.

– Kate’s having a boy! That’s really all I have for Kate and Toby. Kate and Toby have had their ups and downs so it was nice for them to receive some happy news for once. Plus, Kate is going back to school. There is zero chance that Kate and Toby have a happy ending, meaning that the pregnancy is successful and Toby, Kate, and their son live happily ever after. Something is going to happen. I’m standing by my theory that Kate is going to die at some point, but for now, all we can do is wait and watch.

See you in January.

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